Photos: Amanda Bowen
The Washington Capitals hosted their annual development camp for prospects two weeks earlier this year – arguably the busiest week of the offseason – to better accommodate prospects’ demanding schedules over the summer.
Three days after the 2016 NHL Draft, Caps prospects, which included the likes of top prospects Madison Bowey and Riley Barber as well as every pick from the 2015 and 2016 drafts, took the ice. The prospects learned system play and did drills to allow the front office to evaluate their skills and get baseline numbers. The prospects also participated in off-ice programs to learn what it takes to be a professional in the league. There was also a team-building rowing event held near Georgetown.
Lost in the headlines of qualifying offers, huge trades, and the first day of free agency, talented 2015 first-round pick Ilya Samsonov made his Caps debut, working feverishly with legendary goalie coach Mitch Korn. “[Camp] was really hard,” Samsonov said through a translator. “So many shots.” Forward Stan Galiev even made an appearance several days to help translate. Over the next year, the culture-shocked Samsonov, who only knows a handful of English words, will Skype once a week with Barry Trotz’s son Tyson, to better learn the language and communicate with coaches.
On Saturday, Caps Development Camp concluded with a scrimmage in front of a mostly full Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where Team White picked up a fun, but insignificant win.
That’s because, as the prospects know all too well, the real games and real tests are to come. Only a handful will suit up for the Washington Capitals someday.
Below are my photos from every day this week.
Prior to the season, we looked at the fact that a player of Galiev’s age and minor-league production to date was unlikely to become a successful NHL player. Galiev did little to challenge what conventional wisdom should tell us, as his zero goals and three assists in 24 games leaves his future as an NHL player in question now as much as ever.
A photo posted by Evgeny Kuznetsov (@kuzy092) on
Tuesday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov posted a photo of three of the Caps’ Russians in Beverly Hills, hanging out on Rodeo Drive.
After seeing the photo, Wilson had a special message for Stan Galiev.
Way back in November, Sportsnet highlighted the Capitals’ pregame routine, which included a lot of dancing and gyrating. Since then, the Capitals have kept winning and the pregame routine has kept getting weirder.
The Capitals arrived in Montreal last night ahead of their game tonight against the Canadians. So what did the Caps Russians do? I’m glad you asked.
Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Stan Galiev had dinner with former Capital/forever-Habs-scratch Alex Semin. We know this because Ristorante Bis owner Marcello Abate published a photo of the group together on Twitter.
For the first time this season, Alex Ovechkin didn’t score in Friday’s monster win over the Edmonton Oilers. Instead he had to settle for two assists — and apparently a puppy. In an Instagram photo shared Saturday evening, Ovechkin and fiancee Nastya Shubskaya posed with their new dog, a flopsy black puppy named Blaik. “Get to know the new member of the family,” Ovechkin writes.
And one more thing: Ovi is dressed like Batman. That’s because the Capitals are having their Halloween Party tonight. Oh yes.
Just like shooting womp rats back home, John Carlson‘s scoring acumen is something preternatural. Take for example his goal on Thursday night, a spin-a-rama from above the circles that had no business being on target and even less business hitting the back of the net.
He wasn’t even looking! Blind, like Polyphemus, Carlson takes the pass and fires with effortless fluidity. Midichlorians flowing. The puck sails past a flailing Swede before beating poor old Scott Darling in net.
Photo: Addison Huber, 2010
The Caps drafted Stan Galiev in the third round of the 2010 draft. After failing to establish himself as even an AHL regular prior to last season, Galiev finally showed promise in 2014-15, posting 45 points in 67 games for the Hershey Bears and one goal in two games for the Caps. The skillset on display last season has given some high hopes for Galiev’s future in the NHL.
Josh W. (whom you should follow on Twitter) of Canucks Army recently wrote a useful post in which he establishes baselines for AHL prospects achieving NHL success. The rub is this: Despite Galiev’s strong showing in the AHL in 2014-15 and his high-end skill set, chances are he will not grow into an NHL regular.
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